None other than the esteemed Ryan Curry is selling the 2017 locally. CT notes seem to indicate it’s still pretty tight and coiled. I’ll have to give that a shot too.
I own two bottles of the 2011 Coulee de Serrant, which I bought on a whim back many years ago. I’ve never really known what to do with them. CT notes are all over the place. Many complain of sweetness and high alcohol. I’m not sure if age will improve it or not. Do you have any ideas?
I have been consistently impressed with the Silice Chinon white from Marc Plouzeau. It compares favorably with my favorite chenins and is a relative bargain at under $30. Every time I drink it I write a note to buy a case (this note clearly never works).
And of course when you’re done having secs, you can top off your evening by having sekts.
There is a truly excellent thread elsewhere in Wine Talk about Loire white wines; not surprisingly, the thread is dominated by Chenin talk. Highly recommend you check-out that thread for greater detail and insight.
Others have already mentioned the ones I would have mentioned, for the most part.
I’ll add the Kloof Street - Old Vines Chenin Blanc to your list. $20 at K&L, if they still have it in-stock. Don’t know if it’s elsewhere. It has become an annual half case purchase for me. It is insanely good for the price. Out of S. Africa.
I thoroughly enjoyed the '18 Guiberteau “Moulins” when I had a bottle back in April, but, then again, Guiberteau is one of my favorite producers across all wines, so I do have that bias …
Not sure which bottling of TB you are referring to, but I’ve been drink through both the 2018 and 2019 Anjou Blanc. These are screaming good on release. If anything, I liked the 2018 on release better than now with a bit of age. It’s less…tight and coiled.
Day 1 tasting notes:
Philippe Foreau (Clos Naudin) Vouvray Sec 2017: honey, pineapple, orange, yellow apple. A touch sweeter than I might prefer at the front end (tonight, at least), but it brings in some bony mineral and medium orange/lemon acids for an elegant finish. More recognizably Chenin to me of the two. $40.
Guiberteau Saumur Blanc Les Moulins 2018. Light reduction on the nose in an interesting, gunflint way. Tart green apples, tart pineapple, oyster shell, salty breeze, long finish. This was a little more serious and important tasting of the two, a little more energetic, a little less crowd pleasing. $38.
I think on night one, my wife and I liked both, but would be much more likely to loop back for more of the Guiberteau. But I think we maybe liked both a little more than where some recent Huet have been going, where the richness, ripeness and weight even of the Secs are pushing our upper limit a bit. These two balanced some fruit and adequate ripeness with more mineral notes and a lighter, crisper overall feel.
It’s the 2017 Anjou Blanc. I’m cheap. Plus, it’s available locally without shipping cost or weather delay.
Glad you liked the Belargus! You should definitely try the Bertin-Delatte and I agree that the Thibaud Boudignon Anjou is worth trying too. I’ve only tried the 2018 which didn’t wow me but it was probably the vintage and I’d like to try more.
Thanks for the excellent notes on the Foreau and the Guiberteau, neither of which I have tried yet.
My reference was the 2014, which I had in 2018 and it still seemed young. I had it again in 2021 and it seemed fully mature so, ignoring the possibility of bottle variation, I think that vintage hit its stride around the 4-8yr mark. I would be hesitant to wait much longer at the risk of losing too much energy… but I just don’t have a lot of experience with aged Chenin anyway so, TTFWIW.
Tried this one last night:
Domaine Ogereau Savennières Clos le Grand Beaupréau 2020
Not overblown but very persistent aromas of lemon peel, slightly bitter orange, a touch of peony and chalk, all very fresh and pure. The attack is along the same lines, crisp and acidic, with citrus fruits to the fore, then it subtly, seamlessly moves towards notes of orange peel, apple and mirabelle, without ever losing the mineral backbone and taut framework. Dry, but not teeth-jarringly so, this is beautifully balanced between the acidity and the fruit. The finish is just as pure as the attack, long and satisfying, but refreshing at the same time. Nothing overripe here and a mere 13°.
I got into chenin back in the mid-90s, my starting point being Savennières, especially the Baumards but also Closel and others, and I grew to love the crisp minerality I didn’t find elsewhere. But then things changed - starting I think in 98 or 99, I had increasing numbers of bad bottles, which eventually became systematic, and worse still the style changed, into something more flabby and honeyed - which in turn led to systematic premox. So I gave up and stopped buying any Savennières for about fifteen years (well, I did try one or two, but they were just as crap as the previous ones).
Now, with the changing of the guard and the new producers, Savennières and Anjou are definitely back with a bang.
This bottle was exactly what I hoped it would be - and it’s excellent value at 26€.
What you describe here, re: style of Savennieres, mirrors my limited experiences with that appellation. I, too, prefer crisp/acidic/mineral-laden Chenins. Which Savennieres producers are hitting that mark these days? I’d be willing to dip my toes back into that pond …
Well, @Chris_Kissack is the person to ask!
I’ve only tasted a fairly small number of Savennières recently, but the ones I like are those listed above, so Ogereau, Plaisance and Belargus. I haven’t liked any Baumards, nor Closel, nor Epiré. One of the problems is price. I don’t particularly want to pay the prices other Savennières producers are charging. Hopefully Chris will know of other Savennières producers whose wines are in the Ogereau style, with similar prices.
Sorry to say I think you will struggle to find good-value alternatives to the Ogereau style in Savennières.
The Ogereau style reflects earlier picking for precision and to reduce the impact of Botrytis, producing wines that are more taut, precise and acid-driven. Others who follow a similar mantra include Thibaud Boudignon, Eric Morgat, Ch. de Plaisance, Tessa Laroche (Dom. aux Moines), Terra Vita Vinum, Patrick Baudoin. I am aware most of these have already been mentioned, and I doubt any are priced below Emmanuel’s wines. Also consider Domaine FL, who tend towards this style through rigorous blocking of malolactic; they might offer some value options.
I have long advocated looking beyond Savennières to the Anjou appellation though; I think the terroirs along the Layon are just as exciting as Savennières, and the wines in many cases good, better in many cases (especially when lined up against entry-level Savennières from more Sandy soils). Check out the Anjou Blancs from all the above names, they are largely in the same style as each domaine’s Savennières. By coincidence I published a report on current releases from Domaine Ogereau today. Best white in there was the Anjou Blanc Vent de Spilite.
The 2020 is available at a good price at, fittingly, Sec Wines. Should I give it a run?
Or the 2015, 2016 and 2017 are available for just a bit more from another store.
While we’re on the topic of secs, I just got an e-blast from my LWS offering the 2021 Huets, with all three priced the same, rather than the LHL being less than the other two. Is this a new thing from Huet, or some kind of local one-off fluke?
The LHL was $5 cheaper on the email blast from Bottle List.
I’ve just bought some on the strength of Chris’s report - I would certainly grab it while you can!
Thanks Chris, very useful indeed! I’m increasingly convinced that you’re right about the quality of the new Anjous compared to Savennières. As for the latter, looking at the prices of the Savennières producers you mention just underlines what good value the Ogereau portfolio is. In France at least, Clos du Beaupréau is half the price or less than Thibaud Boudignon’s wines (always assuming you can find any!).
I’m probably exaggerating, but apart from people like Patrick Baudouin, my impression of Anjou, only about ten years ago, was that of a sort of ugly duckling, producing fairly coarse, rustic wines not many people wanted - so the recent transformation into a swan is quite astonishing - and very exciting.
I definitely want to explore Anjou Blanc more, especially those Layon terroirs that Chris mentioned in his post.
A couple of months ago, I had a declassified 2020 dry chenin from a producer named Francois Maudet (whom I never heard of) that I found pretty impressive. (The wine is a VdF, though I think the terroir is in Rablay-sur-Layon).
He’s a natural wine producer, but his dry chenin blanc was pretty nice and classical – ripe, but I’m guessing that was from the vintage.
There seems to be a ton of new, young producers of dry Chenin around the Layon, which is really exciting. It will be interesting to see which new producers rise up in the area over the next couple of years.